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HP Kisses NAS, Nods to iSCSI

Edges into IP SANs with Cisco router, as it peps up NAS line and slashes prices

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) today announced that it's now shipping a Fibre Channel-to-iSCSI gateway device supplied by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and that it has pepped up the performance of its NAS line -- while slashing prices on the new models (see HP Debuts FC-to-iSCSI Router and HP Cranks Up NAS, Services).

But HP's iSCSI move, first reported by Byte and Switch, is merely a tentative dipping of its toe into IP storage waters. The 1U-high StorageWorks SR2122 iSCSI storage router, custom-built by Cisco, has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two Fibre Channel ports and is intended to connect "stranded" servers to existing SAN resources (see HP Takes iSCSI Baby Step and HP to OEM Cisco's iSCSI Router).

"We're giving customers a simple, quick, and easy way to connect to that storage pool," says Mark Nagaitis, director of product marketing for HP's storage infrastructure and NAS division.

In contrast to HP's cautious approach to iSCSI, Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) last week announced an aggressive program to offer native iSCSI support -- for free -- across all its NAS filers. The announcements come after the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) earlier this month officially ratified the iSCSI specification (see NetApp Blitzes on iSCSI and iSCSI Gets Go-Ahead).

Why did HP choose to introduce a two-port router, a configuration that Cisco does not itself sell, instead of Cisco's SN5428, which provides eight FC ports? "We chose this device because of the customer requirements," Nagaitis says. "They're not looking for massively high performance for this -- they're looking for raw connectivity."

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